Death toll in Tianjin explosion rises to 50

World Today

An injured woman is treated inside a hospital following explosions in northeastern China’s Tianjin municipality, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Chinese state media reported huge explosions at the Tianjin port late Wednesday. (Chinatopix Via AP)

The death toll from the enormous warehouse explosion that hit Tianjin Wednesday night has now risen to 50, with an additional 701 people injured and 71 of them in critical condition. Among the dead were 17 firefighters, the People’s Daily reported.

The fires are now “under initial control” after a series of massive explosions ripped through a warehouse storing dangerous goods in the Binhai New Area in the northern Chinese port city around 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday local time.

Tianjin explosion leaves 50 dead

The death toll from the enormous warehouse explosion that hit Tianjin Wednesday night has now risen to 50, with an additional 701 people injured and 71 of them in critical condition. Among the dead were 12 firefighters, the People’s Daily reported.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the air quality remained normal in the region near the warehouse which was destroyed by blasts Wednesday night, the city’s environmental bureau said. A nuclear and biochemical emergency rescue team of 214 soldiers also arrived the following morning and working rescue efforts, Xinhua reported.

Tianjin firemen risk lives in explosion rescue efforts

Tianijn firemen conduct rescue efforts in the chemical explosion in the port city on August 12.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have urged all-out efforts to save the injured and minimize casualties in the Tianjin blast. Xi and Li also commanded a work group led by Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun to direct rescue operation and emergency response.

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Xi also urged local government in China to draw a lesson from the accident, insist on the paramount interests of the people, carry out safety checks, enhance their management of dangerous chemicals, ensure production safety and protect the people’s lives and property.

READ MORE: Huge blast in China leaves many dead, injured

Li also vowed thorough investigation in the accident and ensure open and transparent information disclosure to the public.

Tianjin hospitals aid wounded from explosion

Tianjin hospitals aid those injured from the chemical explosion in the port city on August 12.

A local primary school was been transformed into a shelter for the victims of Tianjin blasts. Several volunteers told People’s Daily Online that community assistance has been in place soon after the explosions. People lined up to donate blood outside the Tianjin Railway Station in Tianjin. A group of taxi drivers also organized a volunteer shuttle service to send wounded to hospitals.

Tianjin deals with aftermath of massive explosion

The death toll from the enormous warehouse explosion that hit Tianjin Wednesday night has now risen to 50, with an additional 701 people injured and 71 of them in critical condition. Among the dead were 12 firefighters, the People’s Daily reported.

The explosions in Tianjin have not caused serious impact on the overall operation of the local communication network, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). A total of 36 surrounding communications base stations were out of service because of the power cut caused by the accident, accounting for 2.1 percent of the 1,688 base stations in Binhai New Area.

Timeline of events in Tianjin explosion

View a timeline of events in the Tianjin explosion on August 12.

Dozens of firefighters are still unaccounted for. Of the dead firefighters, the youngest of them was 18 years old. Another had just gotten married two days ago. They were part of the first group of firefighters who rushed to the site immediately after the explosion and then were hit by the second blast. Some were trapped, and other suffered serious burns, CCTV News reported.

A screenshot of a conversation on a Chinese messaging application WeChat went viral online Thursday.

READ MORE: This text exchange from a fireman at Tianjin explosion will bring you to tears

“If I don’t make it back, treat my dad as yours,” one fireman wrote to his friend while on the way to the blast site. Chinese media that he survived the explosion and rescue efforts.

Tianjin resident Zhang Siyu who lives several kilometers from the blast site recounted the explosion to Fox News.

“I thought it was an earthquake, so I rushed downstairs without my shoes on… Only once I was outside did I realize it was an explosion. There was the huge fireball in the sky with thick clouds. Everybody could see it,” Zhang told Fox.

Zhang said she could see wounded people weeping. She said she did not see anyone who had been killed, but “I could feel death,” Fox reported.


Fu Peng-Cheng on the Tianjin blast
The warehouse that exploded in Tianjin, China was storing hazardous chemicals. Fu Peng-Cheng is a bio-chemical engineer at Beijing’s University of Chemical Technology.
He joined CCTV America’s Mike Walters from Boston.

Fu Peng-Cheng on the Tianjin blast

The warehouse that exploded in Tianjin, China was storing hazardous chemicals. Fu Peng-Cheng is a bio-chemical engineer at Beijing's University of Chemical Technology. He joined CCTV America's Mike Walters from Boston.


CONDOLENCES

United States:

At this time of tragedy, the United States extends its heartfelt condolences to the Chinese people over the deadly explosion that occurred on August 12 in Tianjin. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and with China’s first responders who are working to help those who were injured. – Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on the Explosion in Tianjin

United Kingdom:

Speaking in Beijing during a two-day visit to China, U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:

I express my deep condolences for the tragic loss of life and the hundreds injured in the Tianjin explosions.

I was in this vibrant city, meeting local workers at the Airbus factory, just hours before the explosions happened and pay tribute to Tianjin emergency workers who have been fighting fires and treating casualties.

I have conveyed Britain’s condolences to senior Chinese ministers and our Embassy in Beijing is in touch with relevant national and local authorities.

There are no reports so far of any British injured but consular staff are working urgently to establish whether any have been caught up in this terrible incident.

Russia:

Vladimir Putin sent a message of condolences to President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping in connection with numerous casualties and severe damage caused by the explosion in Tianjin.

The Russian leader expressed his sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, wishing a speedy recovery to those injured.

Greece:

The grief at the tragic loss of so many human lives in yesterday’s deadly explosions in the port city of Tianjin, China, is profound.

We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and friendly people of China, as well as our wishes for a speedy recovery to the hundreds of injured.

Story compiled with information from the People’s Daily, Xinhua, and China Daily.